Customer Story
K-12

Improving Student and Teacher Connections With Class

Calcasieu Parish School Board developed a unique approach to virtual learning and trusted Class to facilitate their program. Within their first year of existence, they earned a Model of Excellence Award.

Key Outcomes

30

extra courses available via the virtual program

14

highly certified teachers serving 11 high schools

60

hours of free college credits to students in every high school

500+

additional seats across the Parish

Contents

The ChallengeFinding the right tool to enhance virtual learning

After a rocky online learning experience during the pandemic, Calcasieu Parish School Board realized they needed to rethink the virtual classroom. “We felt like we still needed to be prepared for some type of virtual opportunity for our students,” begins Dr. Doug DeVillier, Virtual Program Director at Calcasieu. “But we’ve also had some issues in the past with teacher shortages, accreditations, credentials of teachers, being able to really maximize our staff. So our virtual instruction program was created really to solve the problem of the teacher shortage and trying to find a smarter way to use the staff we had,” recalls Doug. With their end goals in mind, Calcasieu designed a unique virtual instruction program (VIP) that flipped the idea of online learning on its head.

“When you say ‘virtual’, people think the students are home. They think maybe the teachers are at home, but that’s not the case [at Calcasieu],” explains Doug. “The students are actually on their campus, but they’re not virtual all day long. And that’s really the game changer. They are face-to-face their entire day. But if they want to take a particular virtual class, which we offer through the virtual instruction program, they go into a special computer lab, and in that lab, they log in. Live time, live instruction. When they log in, their teacher logs in, and they are actually having a conversation with their teachers. And our teachers are located here with me in one school building.” With this new approach to online learning in place, Calcasieu needed to find an innovative virtual classroom that could support their VIP and deliver an engaging and valuable virtual learning experience that would truly connect students and teachers.

The SolutionMaking virtual feel like face-to-face

After discovering Class, Calcasieu knew they’d found the right online learning tool to support their newly-designed virtual program. With high schoolers from all across the district logging on to Calcasieu’s VIP, Class has connected students and teachers through an enriching virtual experience that still focuses on live, face-to-face learning. “Class has definitely helped us build relationships with students in the sense that we still see the kids’ faces every day,” begins Samantha Jacobson, Math Teacher at Calcasieu. “We log on, and we talk to them live every day. I can still read their facial expressions. I can still talk to them one-on-one.”

“Even though the students are across the district from each other, it’s been really fascinating to see them build relationships,” adds Hannah Hebert, another Calcasieu Math Teacher. “We’ve had students say, ‘I’ve made friends with people that I might not have met otherwise at my school, but I have a lot in common with’. And because of a program like Class, they’re able to see each other and interact with each other and build those relationships. So that’s been really fascinating to see.”

“Anyone that’s thinking about doing anything like this in a virtual setting, you’ve got to have people in place, you’ve got to have key players that are going to support you. And we were very lucky to have that partnership with Class.”
Dr. Doug DeVillier, Virtual Program Director, Calcasieu Parish School Board
Breakout rooms for 1:1 conversations

“If a student sent us a private message in Class, like, ‘Hey, I need help with this problem,’ we can initiate a one-on-one breakout room so we can talk to them—just them and not the rest of the class. We can replicate those moments in the face-to-face classroom where you would pull a student to the side and help them out using the one-on-one breakout room,” says Hannah.

“We wanted to build a classroom environment where students felt comfortable to type into the chat. But we know that we had to set the procedure, that they had to be respectful in the chat. So sometimes we will take away the chat feature. We love that we can decide on whether they can message everyone. They can message just us. They can’t message anyone at all. I love being able to control who they are allowed to message,” notes Samantha.

“In the [in-person] face-to-face classroom, you can walk around and see the students work. And Proctor View gives us a way to do that. If they’re having trouble with a problem, we can go into Proctor View, see their screen, and catch any mistakes. We use Excel a lot in our class for statistics. We can see if there’s a typo in the formula, if they aren’t clicking on the right cell, etc. So Proctor View allows us to see the student screen so we can catch those mistakes and help them out,” explains Hannah.

“The podium is where the main teacher is at the top corner [of the screen], and they stay there. And we like to put students on the podium for different things like birthdays, if they’re dressed up for Homecoming Week, or when they answer questions. We also use it for student presentations, so that way all the students can see the presenter’s face and give them their undivided attention,” shares Samantha.

The ResultPreparing students for college and beyond

By adding Class to their edtech stack, Calcasieu delivered an engaging virtual instruction program that helps connect students and teachers, improve learning outcomes, and prepare students for the next step in their futures. The state of Louisiana even recognized the success of the VIP and awarded Calcasieu with a Model of Excellence—inspiring two more schools within the district to join the virtual program in the coming year.

“Now that I’m confident in the basics of Class, I can spend time learning new features,” says Samantha. “I’m super excited to bring in new schools and that new students will have the opportunity to take our classes.”

“The benefit for our students with live instruction through the virtual program is they still get the experience of having an instructor that they feel like they’re connected to,” concludes Doug. “They feel like they’re connected to a real classroom, and we can offer more college credit courses to more students.”

With Class, Calcasieu Parish School Board is:

Expanding access to more learners

“Two more schools are joining the VIP this year. So I’m excited to be able to reach even more students than we were last year, especially now that we’re familiar with how Class works and all the features that we could use,” shares Hannah.

Combating the teacher shortage

“We don’t have 11 teachers certified to teach physics, but our virtual program lets us leverage our staff where we have that certified physics teacher so all 11 high schools get to experience that and earn college credit,” shares Doug.

Earning the Model of Excellence award

“Louisiana recognized our district with a Model of Excellence award for our virtual instruction program, which is very innovative for our state,” says Doug.

Ready to see what Class can do for your organization?

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